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Newletter 8, August 2020

New_news__osvaldo_gutierrez_gomezCartoon by OSVAL

We are back with your monthly dose of cartooning news; read our August newsletter here. August is typically our most quiet month of the year, but September is ramping up to be a lot busier. In the meantime, we do have some new cartoonists to introduce and a save-the-date for an online event about cartoons. We also ask your support for Emad Hajjaj, who was arrested (and now released on bail) in Jordan last week over a cartoon.

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Jordanian cartoonist Emad Hajjaj arrested


Image by Gianluca Costantini

This report is taken from Cartooning for Peace:

Renowned Jordanian cartoonist Emad Hajjaj was arrested by the Jordanian authorities for a cartoon related to the signing of the peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, published by Al Araby and subsequently posted on the artist’s website and social networks. The publication on social networks has since disappeared.

Screen Shot 2020-08-27 at 17.56.02Screenshot from AlAraby, where the cartoon is published. The text in the cartoon reads: 'Israel asks the United States not to sell F35 to the United Arab Emirates'

According to Nidal Mansour, head of the Jordanian Center for the Protection and Freedom of Journalists, the cartoonist was arrested for obstructing the Jordanian Information Systems and Cybercrime Law of 2015. An arrest that Emad Hajjaj’s brother, Osama Hajjaj, a cartoonist himself, confirmed. According to Reporters Without Borders, the publications of online newspapers or those of citizen journalists on social networks are punishable by prison sentences and lead to pre-trial detention in case of prosecution under this law. The cartoonist was taken to a court this morning to be heard.

We join Cartooning for Peace in calling for his immediate release. No artist can be arrested for the realization of a cartoon.

Recap - week 34

Recap34Image based on cartoons by Miguel Morales Madrigal and Paolo Calleri.

Another week with Russia in the news, with the (suspected) poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny inspiring a number of our cartoonists. Earlier this week, Trump and the US postal service proved to be a popular topic among cartoonists. In the meantime, we are planning an online event on cartoons and hate speech. More information will follow very soon, but it will take place on Monday September 21, between 3 and 5pm CET, so save the date!

Cartooning news from around the world

Check out this interview by the PCO (part 1 and part 2) with UK cartoonist Steve Bell, who responds to the rumours of him being sacked by The Guardian.

And read this piece in the New York Times on how cartoons were used to fight for the vote at the beginning of the 20th century. It shows how images can be used to overcome negative stereotypes, instead of perpetuating them.

Recap - week 33

WeeklyrecapCartoons by TRIK and Dario Castillejos.

This week, our cartoonists were mostly preoccupied with the elections in Belarus and the Russian vaccine against the coronavirus, the first in the world. This cartoon about the vaccine by Mir Suhail also turned out to be our most popular cartoon this week on social media.

Other cartooning news from around the world:

-In the US, the main topic of this week was of course the announcement of Biden's running mate Kamala Harris.

-An Australian cartoon about Biden and his running mate Harris has been condemned as racist.

-The son of former Ecuadorian president Ortiz has threatened renowned cartoonist Bonil.

Questions of copyright - La Presse

Beirut BlastCartoon by NEMØ, published by La Presse

A few years back, we ran a regular series on our blog titled Questions of copyright, in which we addressed unauthorized use of our cartoons. We discontinued the series, not because our cartoons weren't stolen anymore, but because we just did not have the time to track and report on a regular basis.

We still do not have the time to do this, but we will post now and again when our cartoons are used with blatant disregard for copyright. Cartoons are more popular than ever, and widely shared. We do not mind this sharing when it is done by individuals. We do, however, mind it when our cartoons are used by other media organizations without permission or payment. This still happens far too often. After oppression and censorship, we think this is the biggest threat to the future of editorial cartooning.

The newspaper that caught our eye this month is La Presse in Tunisia. La Presse is a large-circulation French-language daily newspaper published in Tunis. Since a few months, we have noticed them using our cartoons to illustrate their articles. Although they give proper credit to the artist and even link back to Cartoon Movement (not many do), they have still taken cartoons without asking us. We have a quite noticeable 'Purchase' button beneath every cartoon, and journalists of all people should know that content isn't free.

This kind of free use is especially detrimental to a younger generation of cartoonists. They have no regular newspapers yet, and with this culture of free use it becomes almost impossible for them to generate an income out of their cartoons. The result: fewer and fewer professional cartoonists and lower quality cartoons as a result.

We will try to contact La Presse and will follow-up if there are any developments.

Update August 11: We received an apology from La Presse with the promise they will not use our work without prior consent in the future.

Locked in Kashmir


CRNI has posted a comics journalism piece by cartoonist Suhail Naqshbandi to mark the first anniversary of the repeal of Article 370, India’s suspension of the Jammu & Kashmir region’s autonomous status and the subsequent degradation of civil liberty, including one of the world’s longest internet shutdowns.

We recommend you read this essay by Suhail first, describing his experiences prior to the repeal of Article 370. The you can read the full comic here.